Rich parties for Romney as election turns to class
Mitt Romney’s $3m Hamptons’ fundraisers lifted his reputation as champion of the rich
MITT ROMNEY could not have done more to foster the caricature of him as the tone deaf champion of millionaires if he had tried. Journalists were not allowed to attend three fundraisers in the Hamptons that collected more than $3 million for Romney’s presidential campaign last weekend, but they interviewed wealthy guests as they queued in Mercedes, BMWs, Porsches, a Rolls Royce and a Ferrari outside the estates where the fundraisers took place.
“Is there a VIP entrance?” a New York Times reporter heard a woman in blue chiffon shout to a Romney aide from the window of her Range Rover. “We are VIP.”
It may have been the same women who told the Los Angeles Times, “I don’t think the common person is getting it. Nobody understands why Obama is hurting them. We’ve got the message. But my college kid, the baby sitters, the (finger)nails’ ladies – everybody who’s got the right to vote – they don’t understand what’s going on. I just think if you’re lower income – one, you’re not as educated, two, they don’t understand how it works.”
It cost $50,000 (€40,800) to attend David and Julia Koch’s dinner at their $18 million home in the Hamptons. The financial impetus behind the Tea Party, David and his brother Charles Koch (pronounced “coke”) are the seventh and eight richest people in the world, with a combined wealth of $70.8 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires index.
Protesters hired a small aircraft to fly overhead. “Romney has a Koch problem,” said the banner trailing behind it. The Democratic National Committee released an advertisement saying, “Oil billionaire David Koch is hosting a fundraiser for millionaire Mitt Romney at his Hampton estate. And what would Mitt Romney do for the Koch brothers? Give a new $250,000 tax cut to every millionaire and billionaire, protect tax loopholes for companies outsourcing jobs. Protect tax subsidies for big oil.”
President Obama hammered home the middle class vs millionaires theme on Monday, when he asked Congress to renew Bush era tax cuts for Americans earning under $250,000 a year.
“I just believe that anybody making over $250,000 a year should go back to the income tax rates we were paying under Bill Clinton,” Obama said.
“Back when our economy created nearly 23 million new jobs, the biggest budget surplus in history, and plenty of millionaires to boot.”
The Republican majority in the House will not agree unless the cuts are renewed for all Americans, including the wealthiest.
In the meantime, the millionaires are filling Romney’s campaign coffers. Last month, according to figures released on Monday, he raised $106 million to Obama’s $71 million, surpassing the incumbent president for the second month running.
Nationally, the undertow of what Republicans decry as “class warfare” waged by the Obama campaign has little effect.
A Washington Post-ABC poll published yesterday shows the candidates tied at 47 per cent. But in the crucial swing states that will determine the election, a barrage of negative ads about Romney, accusing him of outsourcing jobs to China and enriching himself at the expense of US workers, have had an effect.